Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TDDH: Dec III 41: The Allies


The Japanese invasion is well under way. The positioning of the Japanese forces makes for some difficult choices on the part of the Allies.

The tanks were left too far forward, advancing when they probably should have withdrawn. The Filipino brigade that just assembled in Baguio is virtually cut off. Do the Allies try to save it (and the tanks) or let it get destroyed and reform it with replacements? There are no armor replacements, so an effort must be made to save them.

The risk is that the remaining northern forces get cut off. There is no saving Clark or the aircraft there. Do we withdraw all forces behind the river and force the Japanese to break into the Manila area, across the Pampanga River?

What about the southern end of the island? Do the Allies do a forward defense, preventing Japanese forces from getting into the Batangas/Lucena area? Stopping the Japanese to the south is not going to be difficult, but the port of Batangas is going to be left exposed. There can be forces defending it, but not strong forces.

If the Allies pull back, it isn’t as exciting because there is no combat. The Allies do not have much in the way of offensive punch. They don’t exactly have a lot of defensive punch either, meaning they have to uses terrain to their advantage.

This turns wishful thinking: The Japanese Ki-51 Dive bomber that was shown at San Fernando has been returned to Formosa. I believed there was an airstrip in that hex. There wasn’t. The other San Fernando has an airstrip, and I may have mentally swapped the two.

Initial Phase

All reinforcements have arrived at their locations (see other blog posts about the Allies to learn where the reinforcements arrive).

The Allies also have 2 Air Repair Points, and 1/2 Filipino replacement and 1/2 American replacement.

After long consideration, it is decided to spend both ARPs, one on a B-17C and one on a B-18, both at Clark Field. Both bombers will be needed later in the turn.

The airbases at Zamboanga and Jolo are completed this turn. Not that the Allies have any aircraft left to park there. Jolo should probably be abandoned instead of presenting the Japanese with yet another free airbase.

I had thought about regrouping the PBY-5 and the B-18 bombers to get one of them operational, but while they do have identical air ratings, they do not have identical bombing or range ratings, so I am not sure if I can regroup them or not.

Movement phase

End 1st naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End 1st naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

1st naval subphase

Before I start traipsing the USN all over the map, I am going to break them down into two different naval groups.

NG AF

  • CL Boise
  • VS Childs
  • CL Marblehead
  • TS Merchant-3

NG TF-5

  • CA Houston
  • VS Langley
  • DD Clems-2 & 3
  • PT PT-1

TS Merchant-4, DD Clems-1 and DG IP-1 form another naval group, but there is not enough counters for them. I am going to refer to them as TF-1.

TF-5 moves to Cagayan on Mindanao and loads the 101d X, using the entire port capacity to do so. The artillery battalion, also at the port,  must move to Butuan to be picked up this turn.

AF moves to the port of Tacloban on Leyte. It steams south of the island in order to stay out of reach of Japanese bombers coming from Formosa. They begin loading the 91r infantry gun battalion.

TF-1 moves the other way, to the port of Bacolod on Negros.

The remnants of the subs slip into the naval base at Cebu City.

End 2nd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End 2nd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

2nd naval subphase

TF-5 moves with its cargo towards the town of Zamboanga, on the western tip of Mindanao.

NG AF finishes loading its cargo, and moves into the Visayan Sea.

TF-1 loads the 71r infantry gun battalion, and moves off the west coast of Panay.

The subs replenish fuel and torpedoes.

end 3rd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

end 3rd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

3rd naval subphase

TF-5 arrives at Zamboanga and offloads its cargo. Once the cargo has been offloaded, they begin loading the US 803 construction battalion.

NG Af moves on to Lucena, where it offloads its cargo. The transports have spent a total of 8NMP, leaving the 91r with

TF-1 also arrives at Lucena and offloads. A total of 8 NMP were spent. Once the cargo has left the ships, TF-1 merges into NG AF.

End 4th naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End 4th naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

4th naval subphase

TF-5 completes the loading of the 802 construction battalion, and travels to Jolo, where it begins to load the Filipino 204r construction battalion.

NG AF moves to the naval base at Cebu City.

5th naval subphase

TF-5 completes the loading of the Filipino construction battalion, and heads north towards Luzon.

Allied movement and counter-attack (click image to enlarge)

Allied movement and counter-attack (click image to enlarge)

Movement

There are only three points of movement. To the south, the regiments that will form the 1st Filipino infantry division move north from Lucena to Manila, where they assemble into a division after meeting with the 1-2-5 infantry gun battalion that has just been called up.

Resource points located at Clark Field move by rail to San Jose. Clark is on the verge of being captured by the Japanese. The aircraft may not be able to escape, but the resource points do.

The newly arrived US transport counter moves to San Jose and picks up a resource point.

Units around the Manila area start to form a defensive line on the Manila side of the Pampanga River.

The 4th Marine regiment, being unsupported, withdraws from Mariveles to Corregidor.

To the north, units from Bagiuo, Tarlac and Clark converge on the 56th/16th light mountain regiment. The plan is to forcibly move this regiment so that the Filipino brigade from Baguio and the tanks can escape. A brigade moves forward from Tarlac, and anti-aircraft moves from Clark into attacking positions. Motorized units move north from Manila to join the US Philippines division in the attack. Artillery is brought forward to support some of these unsupported units.

The construction units repair 2 hits on the Manila airbase.

The B-17 and B-18 that were repaired last turn fly over the Japanese regiment, escorted by a squadron of P-40E and P-26A fighters. The B-17C from Mindanao stages through Manila to arrive in the mission hex.

A single Japanese A6M intercepts from Iba airstrip, and attempts to bypass the escorts. Both allied fighters, amazingly enough, post a return result on the Zero, aborting it and sending it back to Iba.

The Allied bombers line up for their runs during the battle, while the fighters return to base. A Japanese squadron of H6K4 Mavis arrive to provide defensive air support. They are the only squadron that can reach that hex. American AA is ineffective, because it is 2 points spread out among 3 hexes.

Combat

The Japanese are in rough terrain (hills). With ground support, the Allies have amassed 29.5 attack factors, while the Japanese, with their DAS, have countered with 9.5 defense factors, for a combat odds ratio of 3:1, barely, with a -1 DRM.

The throw comes up a 2, modified to a 1: Attack Stopped. I had a feeling that was going to come up. There was a 1 in 3 chance of forcing the Japanese to retreat, which would have been ugly for them, a 1 in 3 chance of some form of an exchange coming up, bad for the Allies, worse for the Japanese, a 1 in 6 chance of a no effect, and a 1 in 6 chance of an Attacker Retreat. A 1 in 6 chance of an inconclusive result, and that’s what my luck brought me.

It is the moment after Allied aircraft return to base that the IJN strikes again, raiding the airbases at Manila. Five squadrons strike, with one being returned to base due to AA fire. Bombs are dropped everywhere, resulting in 3 more hits, shutting down all airbases, and aborting the two B-17C squadrons.

Exploitation

Exploitation movement (click image to enlarge)

Exploitation movement (click image to enlarge)

There is not a lot going on this phase. Instead of detailing each individual sub-phase, I am going to give an overview.

There are two naval groups, AF currently located in Cebu City, and TF-5 that is heading north to Lucena.

Naval group AF leaves Cebu City and steams to the port of Butuan, just a bit to the east of Cagayan, where it picks up the 101r artillery battalion and transports it to the Port of Zamboanga before returning to Cebu City and replenishing..

TF-5 arrives at Lucena and offloads its cargo of construction battalions before returning to Cebu City and replenishing its fuel.

On Luzon, the M3 Stuarts make their way down the road into the mountains where they meet up with the motorized artillery and motorized anti-tank battalions. There they form the 1 PGp light armor cadre. The transport counter takes the resource point that was not spent for combat back behind the Pampanga River.

Closing Notes

I got excited over the possibility that the attack on the 1For/48 light mountain regiment might work. It would probably hurt, but it might work and take ou tone of the stronger Japanese units. After all, there was a 2 in 3 chance that something bad would happen to the Japanese.

My face fell when the dice came up a 2. I didn’t know exactly what it was at the time, but I knew the Japanese had fought the Allies off.

The Filipino 11d brigade will probably be lost next turn, but the tanks will probably make it out. As the Japanese player, I will have to figure out a way to target those tanks and get rid of them, considering that they are currently stuck in the mountains, and they cannot use AEC to defend themselves. Have to take advantage of these things while you can.

At this point, the Allied troops on the northern flank should pull back past San Jose to get behind the Pampanga River and into better defensive terrain on the coast. The problem with being on an island is that the IJN can swoop in and contribute to the assault on the coast (or at least they should be able to).

I don’t think I made any foolish mistakes this time around (famous last words). The Japanese assault is up next.

 

 

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